Israel’s Under-21 national team produced a vastly improved performance as it beat England 1-0 Tuesday, thanks to an Ofir Krieff goal in the 80th minute. The team played the closing game at Euro-21 n front of 22,000 spectators at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium.
The hosts were left to think about what might have been had they not conceded the added-time equalizer against Norway in the opening match of the tournament.
Guy Luzon, subject to so much criticism after the 4-0 loss to Italy on Saturday, celebrated the victory after the final whistle as if Israel had won the final.
It was England’s third defeat in the tournament, and probably much maligned manager Stuart Pearce’s last game in charge of the team. Luzon, who is also leaving the U-21 team for Belgium’s Standard Liege, will savor the moment and probably feel redeemed with the victory, which put Israel on four points from three games in the group stage.
In the other Group A game Italy and Norway drew 1-1, a score that secured semifinal berths for both teams.
Israel was the brighter team during the encounter, with Nir Biton’s shot hitting the crossbar in the 56th minute.
Israeli goalkeeper Boris Kleyman pulled off several smart saves to fend off the few English shots on goal, and several Israeli opportunities were also wasted until Krieff’s winner, a bristling shot from outside the box.